James N. McLean, longtime president of Herr Manufacturing Co. - The Buffalo News

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James N. McLean, longtime president of Herr Manufacturing Co.

Dec. 1, 1918 – Jan. 2, 2014

James N. McLean, longtime president of Herr Manufacturing Co., died Thursday in his son’s Grand Island home. He was 95.

Born in the Magdalen Islands of the Canadian province of Quebec, Mr. McLean skipped high school – there wasn’t one on the island where he grew up – and served domestically with the Royal Canadian Air Force during World War II. Afterward, he earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Toronto and a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Buffalo.

Mr. McLean joined Herr in the 1950s and served as its president beginning in the early 1970s. Under his leadership, five companies were acquired and moved to the company’s Town of Tonawanda plant.

Founded in the early 1900s as a textile equipment manufacturer, Herr in more recent times made replacement parts for chain saws and other outdoor equipment.

Mr. McLean, who remained active with the company until November, held several patents.

A member of the Order of the Eastern Star, Mr. McLean was a past district grand lecturer; past patron of Betsy Ross-Levant Chapter 695; and a past master of Ancient Landmarks Lodge 358. He also was a past officer of Kenmore Rotary Foundation, an honorary member Kenmore Rotary and a Paul Harris Fellow.

He had served on the board of Frey the Wheelman Inc., where he also was a member. He also was a member of Kenmore Mercy Hospital’s Advisory Council.

His wife, the former Shirley J. Watson, died in 2011.

Survivors include two sons, James D. and Bruce A.; two daughters, Joyce E. Wahl and Janet E. Spence; a brother, Walter; two sisters, Ethel Gimlin and Edith Hopper; nine grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren.

Services will be held at 10 a.m. Tuesday in St. Bartholomew’s Anglican Church, 2368 Eggert Road, Town of Tonawanda.

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